A review of #ShareHumanity

The UN and other NGOs called to mark World Humanitarian Day with a hashtag that was widely shared

World Humanitarian Day is still a quite new celebration. The United Nations created this celebration in 2008 to “recognize those who face danger and adversity in order to help others.” It chose August 19th, the anniversary of the attack against the UN office in Baghdad that killed 22 humanitarian workers in 2003.

This year’s theme was “Inspiring the World’s Humanity,” and it was heralded by the hashtag #ShareHumanity. The UN-led effort called people to donate their Twitter or Facebook profiles for a day, to share stories of humanity. Alexandra Eurdolian said in an interview with Mashable that the goal was to reach younger people and give them a chance to make a contribution that is not monetary.

Just a reminder of why this day is so necessary:

At 4pm today, the hashtag had been used about 60,000 times, and over the last week almost 100,000 times, according to Topsy. Some people chose to donate their profiles and let the UN take over their account,

Several humanitarian organizations took the opportunity to praise their workers

or draw attention to the challenges they face

or those affected by humanitarian needs

Others seized the opportunitny to remind their audience about ongoing crises

Politicians like the Swedish Foreign Minister

and even Colombian music star Juanes joined the cause

The official UN account chose to seize the date to remind followers of the principles of humanitarian action

It will be interesting to see the results of this initiative, its geographic distribution and the attention it caught beyond social media. The real challenge, I think, is to engage people in debate about humanitarian affairs beyond New York and Geneva.

For me, the tweet that best captured the idea of #SharedHumanity and what that means in terms of understanding humanitarian crises, was one by the International Organization for Migration:

Basically, tomorrow we could all be in the place of those needing humanitarian aid today. This idea should foster empathy and, definitely, more tweets.

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